Debt Jitters Strike Wall Street (MA, PFE, CVS, TEVA, NTRI)
After yesterday’s rally, stocks took it on the chin today as fears over European debt problems crept back into investors’ minds. Nothing materially changed from yesterday to today, but pushback from the Greek populace and concerns that the debt contagion will spread to other EU nations weighed on investors. Meanwhile, the euro continues to sink, which doesn’t help matters. While this issue has been around for a few months, it looks like it will continue to be an overhang.
Stocks sank on the day, with the Dow falling -225 points to 10,927. The S&P fell -29 points to 1,174, while the Nasdaq nosedived -74 points to 2,424. Oil plunged -$3.45 to $82.74 a barrel, while gold dropped -$14.10 to $1,168.60 an ounce.
On the economic front, pending home sales climbed 5.3% to a seasonally adjusted reading of 102.9 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Economists were anticipating a reading of 101.5. Elsewhere, the Commerce Department said factory orders moved up 1.3% in March, better than the -0.1% decline expected by analysts.
In earnings news, shares of Mastercard (MA) edged up 0.2% after the company’s Q1 profit rose 24% and topped estimates. For the quarter, net income was $455 million, or $3.46 per share, easily beating the consensus of $3.14. Last year the company earned $367 million, or $2.80 per share. Revenue increased to $1.3 billion from $1.2 billion, while its gross dollar volume growth rate rose 8.3%. A total of 98 pro investors counted the stock among their top 15 holdings at the start of Q1, as did 685 tickerspy members.
Pfizer (PFE) said that its Q1 net income fell -26% due to charges from its acquisition of Wyeth last October. For the quarter, the drugmaker earned $2.03 billion, or 25 cents a share, down from $2.73 billion, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted EPS was 60 cents, which topped analyst expectations of 53 cents. Revenue soared 54% to $16.75 million. Pfizer reaffirmed its 2010 outlook of adjusted EPS of $2.10-$2.20, compared to estimates of $2.20. The stock rose 2.1%. A total of 413 pro investors counted the stock among their top 15 holdings at the start of Q1, as did 2,437 tickerspy members.
Shares of CVS Caremark (CVS) sank -1.6% as a mild flu season impacted the company’s sales. For the period ended March 31st, CVS posted a profit of $771 million, or 55 cents per share, up from $738 million, or 50 cents per share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS was 60 cents, topping the consensus by two cents. Revenue inched up 2% to $23.76 billion, while same-store sales grew 2.3%. The company raised the low end of its 2010 forecast to $2.77-$2.84 from $2.74-$2.84, and said revenue is expected to be flat or down as much as -2% compared to last year’s revenue of $98.73 billion. Analysts were expecting EPS of $2.79 on revenue of $99.19 billion.
Generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (TEVA) reported better-than-expected Q1 earnings due to strong sales of generics in the U.S. Despite the positive news, its shares slumped -1.7%. For the quarter, Teva earned $713 million, or 79 cents a share, up 58% from $451 million, or 51 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted EPS was 91 cents, which topped the 89-cent consensus. Sales jumped 16% to $3.7 billion. Looking forward, the company maintained its 2010 EPS guidance of 4.40-$4.60, compared with the consensus of $4.54.
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